A verification report from an independent bar code testing service carries a lot of weight with a customer. It says you are serious about quality and submit your process and your reputation to a lab with no vested interest in weighting the results.
This is not necessarily a given. Ask a prospective bar code testing service for referrals—and check them out. Ask about long term clients, not just big, well-known client names.
Integrity is the most important quality of a reputable bar code testing service
A bar code testing service should be quick to respond to your initial inquiry—and every inquiry after that. They should be ready to act on a moment’s notice upon the first encounter and the 100th encounter. Responsiveness includes reporting their findings. You should get at least an initial report within hours of their receiving your samples.
Testing is communication. Anyone can buy a verifier, call themselves a bar code testing service and send you a verification report. Ask to see a sample report. Read it and see if it makes sense to you. Could you use the information it contains to improve your bar codes, or is it just technical terminology and insider jargon meant to impress you?
The most important skill of a good bar code testing service is communication
Not all bar code testing service clients are the same. Some clients are subscribers who use lab services regularly; others are ER visitors with a problem to solve. A good bar code testing service responds to a client’s specific needs which sometimes means being available at odd hours or on-site. Sometimes it means a conference call with the client’s customer or vendor.
Reputable bar code labs have a test protocol that is inviolate. This includes the equipment they use, the test samples they request, the test procedures they employ and the report they issue and sign-off on. Long-term clients should see a familiar and useful report that improves incrementally over time—not written from scratch at every encounter.
Testing is a science and a service. In the real world it isn’t quaint or funny when the lab is run by wild-haired geeks with poor people skills. Science and service are both required, and some clients require more of one or the other.
A good bar code testing service will have the right tools, the knowledge to use them skillfully, and the ability to communicate understandable results
As we have all heard, it’s a poor workman who blames his tools. A good bar code testing service will have the right instruments, properly calibrated and maintained, and know how to use them.
It is also a poor workman who relies exclusively on his tools and neglects to use his skills. In bar code testing this includes a microscope, a magnifier, a coordinate measurement machine (CMM), a micro-photographic camera and a reflectance densitometer. Having a verifier isn’t enough.